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Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

Wall Trough with Liner
Wall Trough with Liner

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Trees, shrubs, and certain vines are woody plants that grow in all shapes and sizes from 10 feet deciduous trees to 1 foot creeping shrubs. These plants share a common characteristic other than consisting of wood. They share persistent stems. Unlike perennials, the stems survive the winter and produce new leaves the following spring.

Trees

No landscape is ever complete without a couple of trees present. Whether providing privacy or shade, it is always a good investment to plant a tree. When choosing a tree, be sure to select one that has wide branches. Wide branches actually protect the tree from wind or ice damage. The branch angle measures the distance from the trunk to the base of the branch. A sturdy reliable wide angled branch has a 45 to 60 degree angle. Although there are many types of trees available to purchase, you can roughly divide them into three categories:

Shade Trees

These trees require a lot of space between them or else they will over crowd each other very quickly. It’s recommended to plant these trees, as younglings, 20 feet away from the southwest or west side of your home. Deciduous shade trees provide excellent cool shades by blocking out the sun and lowering temperatures up to 20 ° F. Conversely during the winter time, with their leaves fallen, they allow sunlight to pass through to warm up greenhouses and homes.

Peacock Trees

These trees are advantageous because they posses uniquely colored foliage all year long. Common examples of peacock trees include the golden leaved box elders, tulip trees, red leaved Japanese maples, and purple leaved Norway maples. Most of these trees are available at garden centers and are a great investment because they spice up any landscape.

Flowering Trees

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Unlike shade trees, flowering trees are smaller and can be planted in compact areas such as town houses or neighborhood strips. If there is a larger environment available, plant them repeatedly in a straight or curved line to create a beautiful landscape. Certain flowering trees provide visual interest all year long. The crabapple tree has purple-bronze flowers in the summertime, colorful leaves during the fall, and bright fruit during the fall or winter seasons.

Shrubs

Simple and easy to incorporate into any type of environment, shrubs provide delightful accents to any landscape. Although simple to plant, you must keep in mind the eventual shape, width, and height in order to correctly position them around your home. They can be planted as singles to accent your walkway or in groups together along the borders. If you plan to utilize them as hedges, plant them closer together than they normally would be. They can be planted in a smooth line to serve as a background for perennial and annual plantings.

Low ground spreading shrubs are ideal candidates for foundation plantings. Tall shrubs with conical or columnar shapes should be planted in the corners of your home or between the windows.

Vines

Vines are easy to handle because you can plan for and limit their size. There climbing nature makes them ideal plants for landscaping. The height and width of your vines are not determined by the plant itself but actually by the structure it grows on.

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As a heads up, there are some unique dangers with vines. If you are not careful, they can escape their boundaries by climbing onto nearby trees. Some vines, like ivy, can actually damage the foundations of your home by working their roots into the mortar. Best course of action you can take to prevent this from happening to your home is to plant vines at least a foot away from your house.

There are many different variations of vines. Twinning vines require supports to twist their way around it. Sturdy poles, such as pergolas, should be considered before purchasing twinning vines. Good twinning vines include kiwi, morning glory, honeysuckle, and blacked eyed Susan vines.

Other vines have tendrils that require slender strings or narrow supports to grasp onto. These vines are easy to train and beautify chain link fences. Be careful with these vines as they have a tendency to start climbing onto trees.

Clinging vines stick to solid objects. They can stick onto walls because their aerial roots work their way into the nooks and crannies of most solid walls. It’s a good idea not to grow them on surfaces that require regular paint jobs or on walls that are weak and not sound. Clinging vines include ivy, trumper creeper, and Virginia creeper. Interestingly enough, English ivy starts its life as ground cover with only leaves but works its way to the top of trees or buildings where it sprouts out outstanding flowers.